• Published 27th Dec 2014
  • 2,183 Views, 104 Comments

Laughter or Darkness - Starlitomega



It seems like an easy choice, doesn't it? However, when you've spent a thousand years away from other ponies, the darkness can be comforting. It will take a lot of work to drag Luna out of the darkness, but one pink pony is up to the task.

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Waking in Darkness

Luna gasped for air as she abruptly returned to the waking world. Though her eyes were open, she saw nothing but enveloping darkness.

What in the... Where am I?"

Panic began to set in, and her breaths became quick and shallow. As her head turned in every direction, she spotted a line of light below her. Without hesitation, she charged towards it.

"Whoa!" Luna flew forward, her hooves flailing through the air. "Oof!"

After hitting the ground face first in a rather un-princess-like manner, Luna found her footing and turned around to inspect her former prison.

How in Equestria did I end up in my closet? Luna slammed the door shut and suppressed a blush.

Pushing the embarrassment aside, she refocused on the dream, Pinkamena’s parting words still echoing in her mind. So many questions had presented themselves, not the least of which being how she felt about Pinkie Pie.

It's been quite awhile since I've had the chance to court somepony.

Luna wasn’t exactly a novice at the game of love, but to say she was an expert on the subject would be far overselling her actual experience.

Before I do anything else, I should probably find out how society does so in this day and age.


A burst of milk sprayed out of Celestia’s nose. Her sinuses burned and she coughed powerfully, trying to force out the milk that had gone down her windpipe.

"Excu—ack!—se me?" Celestia asked incredulously, fishing out the spoon she had just dropped into her cereal.

"I asked, ‘When was the last time you've been with somepony?’"

Celestia seemed stricken by Luna's question—enough so that she simply laid her spoon off to the side after rescuing it. “It's been quite a long time, I'm afraid. Is there some reason you wish to know about my romantic life, or lack thereof?”

Luna nodded. “I wish to know how relationships are commonly approached in this era. Are ponies still required to wear special underwear during a date?”

Celestia covered her mouth with a hoof in a futile attempt to stifle her laughter. “Oh my! I'd forgotten all about those silly things! Oh, no no no. These days, ponies are free to date in a—shall we say—more casual manner. Is there any reason you've suddenly struck upon the subject of romance?”

Luna bit the inside of her cheek. She had trusted her sister with so many secrets since her return, and not once had that trust been misplaced. Regardless, Luna felt this was something she should keep close to her chest.

“You say I should strive to understand my subjects better. Understanding how they live and socialize with one another is part of that,” Luna explained.

Celestia seemed to visibly shrink. “Oh... of course. Well, that is admirable then.”

Luna sighed inwardly, relieved that her sister seemed satisfied with the answer. A pang of guilt still struck her though as she never enjoyed lying to her sister.


“The night guard assures us that the patrols in the city are back to normal after the outbreak of feather flu.”

Lying on her bed, Luna sighed out of boredom. Listening to the night captain prattle on about mundanities such as these made her want to pass out. Of course, last time she did that, the night captain spent a week in speech therapy. The truth of the matter was, tonight Luna's mind strayed elsewhere.

“What of the intruder that was spotted in the castle last weekend?”

At this, the guard recoiled. “We locked down the castle tight, Your Highness. Unfortunately, the intruder slipped through.”

Seeing a pony clad in armor, cowering like a foal with their hooves in the cookie jar, amused Luna far more than she thought it would.

“I deeply apologize and take full responsibility, Your Highness.”

Luna waved her hoof casually. “It's quite alright, Captain. Just be more alert in the fut—”

The door to the meeting room slammed open. Luna sat up and her eyes flew toward it as a lone pony walked through.

“Twilight Sparkle. It’s good to see you, though I must admit to being more than a little puzzled by the timing of your visit,” Luna said, noting the moon hanging in the night sky.

Twilight laughed nervously, a cracking grin adorning her face. “I guess it is a little late. I've just had something driving me crazy lately, and I had to come warn you.”

Luna looked to the captain and nodded. Taking the hint, he quickly left her quarters, allowing them to continue their discussion in privacy. “Warn me? Is something wrong? If you need assistance, my sister and I ca—”

Twilight waved her hooves frantically. “No, no! It's nothing like that. There's just something you should know.”

“Very well. What is it that I should know?” Luna asked.

“Well, it happened a couple of days ago. Pinkie Pie came over and started telling me some cah-raazy stuff.” Twilight spun her hoof around her head and rolled her eyes.

“What ‘crazy stuff’ did she say, exactly?”

Twilight put a hoof on her chest and laughed. “I don't know where she got this ridiculous idea, but she said—heh, heh, heh, oh boy—that she wanted to take you on a date."

Luna knew enough about ponies and their body language to see right through the alicorn standing before her. She might have been laughing and acting as if the entire situation was humorous, but it was clear that Twilight was quite nervous.

“I see. I'm not sure you needed to bother yourself warning me about this,” Luna said.

Twilight lunged forward, putting her face uncomfortably close to Luna's. “I just thought it would be best if you knew ahead of time so you would be ready if she did do something like, I don't know, ask you on a date. Best to let her off easy. Can't be seen dating a common pony like Pinkie, you know?”

Luna nodded hesitantly. "Right... If I may, why exactly is that important?"

Twilight's nervous smile vanished, replaced with a more dangerous veneer. "Because it's not proper, of course! I mean, what would ponies say if they even caught wind of a pony like Pinkie Pie trying to ask you out? It would be nuts!"

Luna studied her sister's protégé carefully. Everything about this encounter seemed… off, rubbing her the wrong way. Nevertheless, she decided it would be best to play along.

“Right. I understand. It would not do to look improper to our subjects. Thank you for the warning, Twilight Sparkle.”

Twilight smiled, the tension seemingly leaving her in an instant. "Of course! I'll just be on my way back to Ponyville then. Good night, Princess Luna."

“Good ni—” The door to her chambers shut abruptly, causing Luna to jump, “—ght, Twilight Sparkle…”

What the hay just happened?

Given Celestia’s recount of what she referred to as the "Lesson Zero Incident", Luna knew that the brand new princess could be a bit erratic at times, but never without purpose. If Twilight was acting so erratic, there had to be a reason.

Just what stake do you have in this, Sparkle?


Two days had passed since Twilight's unusual visit to the castle. Since their conversation that night, Luna had been dreading the weekend.

She wasn't sure what Pinkie wanted of her, based on their recent outings. It had been a very long time since Luna had even pondered the concept of love—so long, in fact, that she wasn't sure she’d even recognize what form those feelings would take.

"Where are we going tonight?" questioned a bubbly voice.

Luna cocked her head to the doorway where Pinkie stood. "I'm not sure you'll enjoy what I have planned."

"Try me," Pinkie replied, flashing a daring smile.

"Very well." Luna left her seat and concentrated on her destination, seeing it in her minds eye. Her horn sparked and in an instant, they both disappeared.


The wind howled in Luna's face, its biting cold stinging her eyes and forcing her to squint. Everywhere she looked, the world was white with chaos.

"It may seem strange, but this place is very comforting to me!" Luna shouted above the roar of the wind. She looked down to her side and recoiled.

There, on the snow-covered ground, Pinkie lay curled up in a tight ball, shivering in a desperate attempt to stay warm.

Seeing this, Luna gasped and quickly conjured a protective shield around them. Another spell soon followed, rapidly spreading warmth throughout the shield. The snow encapsulated within the bubble quickly melted, exposing the craggy rock beneath them.

"Pinkie Pie, are you alright?" Luna asked, kneeling down next to her.

The pink pony unfurled herself and shakily rose to her hooves. The thin smile on her lips did little to ease Luna's worry.

"You should have told me to pack for cold weather," Pinkie said with a rattled laugh.

"Forgive me. I've been here so many times that I no longer think about the cold. I sometimes come here when the stress of being around others becomes too great," Luna explained.

"Where are we, anyway?" Pinkie asked, looking around her.

Luna's horn ignited and fired a spell through the shield. The falling snow parted and dissipated around the powerful beam. Mere inches away from them stood the edge of a cliff.

Pinkie gasped and threw her hooves around Luna's leg, backing fearfully away from the ledge. "We're on a mountain!"

Luna nodded. "Indeed."

"But… why do you come here? It's so cold, and it's really dangerous! I can understand sitting in the fridge if you're hot, but I—huff—don't understand—huff." Pinkie's voice trailed off.

"The air here is much thinner than what you are accustomed to. You should breathe deeply, and speak less," Luna said. She closed her eyes and lifted her head high. She couldn't feel the wind battering her face as usual, or the cool snow falling into her mane, but it still gave her a sense of comfort.

"Sometimes when I am around my subjects, I feel I don't belong among them. Life picks up and hurls ponies through a maelstrom of chaos. Not I. I remain steadfast through the storm."

Above the roaring wind, silence took hold. Luna didn't know if she had, or even could, adequately explain how she felt about this place.

"That's awful."

Pinkie's voice had lost its bubbly enthusiasm. She sounded as if she were on the verge of tears.

Luna lowered her head. "What do you mean?"

Pinkie's head hung sadly as she let go of Luna. "It's like you want to be lonely—like you don't want to be part of the snow."

"I suppose you're right," Luna admitted.

They fell silent again. The alicorn pondered Pinkie's words.

"Is this because you were..."

Luna looked at Pinkie. The pink mare clearly wanted her to fill in the gap, but Luna waited for her to finish her thought.

"...Ya know... Nightmare Moon?"

Luna sighed. Long had she dreaded that name. It stirred up so many emotions from deep within. So many times she regretted her past; the malicious being, which the darkness in her heart had let her become.

"I suppose it is."

That answer seemed to satisfy Pinkie for the moment. This night thus far had been a very different affair from their previous outings. Pinkie seemed lost in thought, hanging on every word Luna said.

"Can you show me?"

Luna looked down at Pinkie questioningly. "What?"

"Nightmare Moon. I saw her during Nightmare Night, but I was too busy running away. I'd like to see her."

It seemed like a simple request, but given what Luna knew of Pinkie's feelings toward her, it had taken on a different light. She looked at the pink pony with apprehension. "Are you sure?"

Pinkie gave a slight nod, her eyes giving an air of both eagerness and doubt.

Luna focused her thoughts. She felt her form change, becoming taller and casting a much more imposing silhouette. Her eyes flashed in pain for a moment, and when she opened them again, her vision had changed. She blinked a couple times and looked down at the pony beside her.

Pinkie now seemed much smaller compared to her, but what caught Luna’s attention were her eyes.

Fear.

Why wouldn't Pinkie be afraid? Luna now carried the visage of a thousand year old boogeyman meant to keep foals in line. "I apologize if I frighte—huh?"

Luna reeled in shock as Pinkie wrapped her hooves around her leg. The pink pony clung to her like a foal would a teddy bear at bedtime. "Pinkie? Are you well?"

Raising her head, the Pinkie stared up at Luna with a sad expression. "Y-you looked lonely..."

Luna dropped her disguise and gently prised Pinkie's hooves away. "I'm fine. I haven't had any need to think of Nightmare Moon for quite awhile."

"Oh."

Wind screamed and howled around them as they fell silent. This trip to the mountain was unlike any of other. The white noise and frigid conditions usually drowned out her senses, allowing her to retreat within herself. This time, a magical shield and artificial heat killed the chaotic atmosphere.

"It's a bit warm in here," Luna remarked offhandedly.

"Mmmhmmm," Pinkie agreed.

Luna stared out at the chaotic winter storm, thinking upon Pinkie's words. Her ears perked up as a rattling noise caught her ear. Looking beside her, Luna saw the pink pony digging through her saddlebags, her front legs and head buried inside them. "Uhh, need some help?" the alicorn offered.

"No thanks! I should be goo—woah! Help!" Pinkie slipped, falling into the pouch she had been rummaging through.

Luna sighed in exasperation, trying not to think about how Pinkie's entire body fit into the small pouch. Her horn glowed as she raised the bags into the air and overturned them. The pink pony came tumbling out, holding a bottle of blue liquid, two cups, and wearing a pair of shutter shades.

Pinkie giggled and pushed the bottle towards Luna. "Here, hold this."

Numbly, Luna did as she was told and stared as the earth pony walked over to the edge of the bubble, stuck out the cups, and scooped up two generous piles of snow. Balancing the cups on her nose, Pinkie walked back to Luna and reclaimed her bottle of mysterious blue liquid. Luna raised an eyebrow as the party pony then poured a generous amount of blue liquid over the snow.

"What in Equestria are you doing?" Luna asked. She jumped backwards as Pinkie suddenly thrust one of the cups at her.

"Snow cones, silly! Bubblegum flavor!" Pinkie announced happily.

Luna narrowed her eyes at Pinkie. "Snow cones... really?"

Pinkie nodded furiously in between bites of her treat. "Yup!"

With a sigh, Luna accepted the snow cone and stared at Pinkie. "I can't wait to tell my sister about the time I ate a snow cone on the coldest summit in Equestria."

Pinkie smiled that endearing smile of hers—eyes closed, mouth wide, and a set of pearly white teeth brilliant enough to see in the dark. This time, however, they were slightly tinged blue.

Suddenly, Luna's world screeched to a halt. Time slowed as realization washed over her like a tidal wave. This trip was meant to be Luna's way of sharing something important with Pinkie. Instead, it illustrated just how isolated she had become.

Luna felt like a steadfast monument in a snowstorm. While she would be content with watching the ponies go about their lives around her, Pinkie would take the first opportunity to gather up and socialize with as many of them as she could. Staring at her snow cone, she realized how succinctly it illustrated the differences between them.

Pinkie didn't need to simply watch the snow fall around her. All she had to do was gather it up and enjoy it.

"Did I put too much syrup in it?" Pinkie asked, slush clinging to her chin.

Luna snapped out of her epiphany. Her eyes drifted over to her questioning companion. "No, not at all. I was just thinking about something, that's all."

Pinkie scoffed. "Don't think about it, eat it! Sheesh. Only you and Twilight could have existential breakdowns over a snow cone."

"I suppose it would be better if I wolfed it down like you, wouldn't it?" Luna asked, glaring at her companion. She quickly jammed her mouth into the snow cone, rubbing it vigorously in her face. "There. Is that better?"

Pinkie stared up at her, a hoof covering her mouth as she tried to hold back laughter. It was in vain, of course. Pinkie fell to the ground, clutching her stomach, as she giggled at the blue slush all over Luna's muzzle.